Everyone should “take it from” Karamo Brown. The 37-year-old star made his mark on the world on MTV’s “The Real World: Philadelphia” as the first openly out gay, black man on reality television. Now he melts our hearts as the culture expert on Netflix’s Emmy nominated “Queer Eye” reboot.
“We truly do love the people we help,” Karamo told “Good Morning America.” “The reason there’s long lasting change is because we’re putting our all in it.”
Of the “Queer Eye” fab five, Brown is the resident “confidence booster.” He offers support and motivation to each episode’s subject and helps people embrace and love themselves — a message he strongly instills in his family.
In 2007, he discovered he was the father of a 10-year-old boy, Jason. Brown later adopted Jason’s half-brother Chris.
“I adopted my second son because family is supposed to be there for each other and support each other,” Brown said.
Brown’s own father abandoned him upon finding out about his sexuality. His kids, however, embrace him for who he is.
“My kids were make fun of me because they say that I have two sides. I have a business side and I have a slutty side,” laughs Brown. “I own both of my sides of who I am. I want them to know that it’s okay for them to own whatever parts of themselves they are.”
Speaking of owning parts of ourselves, “GMA” had Brown own up to some photos from his past. We took him back in time to find out what expert advice he would give his younger self. From high school portraits to family photos, one thing’s for sure, Brown has always had has an eye for style.
1. Continue to be happy.
“I have to be like 3 or 4 but let me tell you that “Queer Eye” swag was on!” Brown told “GMA.” “I was a very happy kid. I smiled a lot. I was very, very, very happy I guess because I was the youngest.”
2. Appreciate what you have.
“Ooh my senior photo was lit,” exclaimed Brown. “I’m giving you straight Blue Steel.”
Brown told “GMA” that the advice he would give his younger self would be to appreciate his hair.
“I would say appreciate what you have because you’re going to miss those locks one day.”
3. Own who you are.
Brown got emotional when we showed him a photo of himself, his oldest son and grandfather, who raised Brown when his own father left him.
“He stepped in immediately and was like ‘I love who you are, you’re going to be amazing,'” said Brown. “He’s in his 90s now so he’s had a great life. Now I’m just happy that we’ve had these generational experiences because especially as African-Americans, you often don’t get to see those images. And there is basically four generations of men right there that I mean I will cherish that photo forever.”
4. Always give it your all.
“All the Fab Five, yeah! I love them,” said Brown, looking at a photo of him and his “Queer Eye” cast mates. “I’m living for Jonathan. That was the first time he ever wore heels and I was like, ‘Yes I need to do that.'”
The photo was taken for their potential Emmy nomination.
“The fact that there’s a potential that we might be hearing soon that we’re an Emmy-nominated show and an Emmy-nominated host is mind-blowing.”
5. Work hard and be good to people.
“That’s the night I asked the love of my life to marry me,” said Brown. “We’re wearing and showing off our David Yurman rings — black diamonds on black platinum.”
Brown said it took him a bit to propose since he was working as a social worker and supporting his family.
“The minute that the TV show came out and I started like really making them coins and I knew we were getting engaged. I was like, we’re getting David Yurman rings.”
As far as advice to Brown’s younger self goes…
“I just would continue to tell myself in that photo, just continue to believe that whatever you want you can do it if you continue to work for it and be good to people.”